Are there any parent advocates for the Juvenile Justice System?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by exhausted, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Ok- I have looked online, called NAMI, and asked the JJS worker for my daughter if there are parent advocates who understand the Juvenile Courts. I even called a couple of lawyers with my questions. How do you get a judge to consider mental illness when ordering level of care for your kid? Does anyone have experience here?
  2. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Its been a while for me, but the words "mental illness" does not compute with the JJS unfortunately. Best thing to do if you are going to find a lawyer is find one that specializes in youth offenders. And by all means do a Parent Report and make sure the judge, DA, Probation Officer and anyone else involved has a copy BEFORE the hearing. Plus a letter from the psychiatric doctor if you can re diagnosis, and request a Residential Facility, and see if they have a dual diagnosis place. I think if you don't specify, they will put them in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) but it will be a punitive based one (been there done that) AND if she is on any medication, request the court ORDER they provide them because chances are she won't get them - I was going back to court on a bi weekly basis with my difficult child's medications which were "out of stock" and when I brought them, they would be taken by the staff never to be seen again

  3. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Thanks Marcie Mac, I have the parent letter. Any other suggestions as to what should be in there? She has been in intensive day-treatment DBT which is exactly what she needs. But on the wait list for the residential there. She runs when she gets tweaked and so now they put her is JJS custody and want to ship her out of county to " Residential Treatment Center (RTC) but it will be a punitive based one"-for drug addicted kids-we did that privately and after 18 months she was worse. Trying to keep her in DBT. But there will be 2 weeks where she will be out of DT and not in residential and she is not safe. Seems we can find something lock down for 2 weeks so that they don't make a horrible treatment mistake! The medications thing is insane! They better not touch them!
  4. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    If you have not already seen the information in link #1 about Coordination of Care Court for mentally ill juvenile offenders go there first and try the phone number at the bottom of the description.

    Here are links to some info on holding options available in UT.

    Has a public defender been assigned to her or what? Whoever is her attorney (and I assume she has to have one if she's going in front of a judge) that is the first person I would be talking to about this. If the court appointed attorney isn't helpful/knowledgeable then you may need to hire an attorney yourself.

    Here I was able to get a lot of help from a parent advocate for mental health hired by juvenile hall to help other parents. She gave me a lot of helpful info. I found her by accident when I called the medical clinic about my son's medications when he was being detained a couple weeks ago. So you could also call over there and ask if they have anything like that.

    I would definitely try to get the psychiatrist to write a brief note saying how long he/she's been difficult child's doctor (if it's been a long time is really good) and that the intensive DBT program is what the psychiatrist is prescribing based on her significant clinical improvement while in the program.

    Here, the juvenile hall psychiatrist was so completely out of left field it scared me. She met difficult child 2 for 20 minutes and told me he should come off all his medications and there was nothing wrong with him that couldn't be fixed with counseling and a lot of consequences (i.e. punishment). When I said well he was hospitalized for about 6 weeks total last spring and this was their diagnosis and his psychiatrist of 4 years who's seen him monthly for 4 years says the same - the juvie psychiatrist said, well I did only meet him for 20 minutes but I don't agree with them....:doctor:

    I made a point of telling the public defender about the difference of opinion between the juvie psychiatrist and our community psychiatrist - as in, we cannot let him stay in there if she has the power to change his treatment while he's there!!! The public defender brought it up in court and told the judge that there was a significant difference between the juvie psychiatrist and our community psychiatrist's treatment plan and that we wanted him released so he could be seen by his community psychiatrist. The judge actually asked how long difficult child 2 had been seeing the community doctor (4 years), who it was (she knew our psychiatrist by name) and when his next appointment was (the following day). It seemed to settle the question of his release to us once that issue was brought to the table.

    My point is that don't assume too much. The judge may be more knowledgeable than you expect and the public defender may be helpful if you give that person the right info.

    Good luck. Keep us posted.

  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    My experiences have not been positive ones. in my humble opinion, "the system" is a **** shoot. So much depends on the experience and caring level of the Judge, the PD, the SA and the SW from Juvenile Justice. In our community it costs $1800 to hire a private attorney and many of them are not cut from the advocate mold.

    On a more positive note it really sounds like you have done an outstanding job of reaching out, documenting and accepting the parent advocate role. I admire your diligent preparation and am sending good thoughts and prayers your way. Hugs DDD
  6. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Thank you RSLnights and DDD. I am excited about the coordination of care number=hope they call me back today! Why didn'
    t they tell me this stuff! And the defender-I hope will phone back as well. I didn't even know one had been assigned. I'm staying with it!
  7. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Keep us posted.

  8. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    A parent advocate from a program finially contacted me last evening. She is coming to court with us. She has helped many parents. She did warn us we had a tough judge-but she had success with him in the past. The defender has not called back-mmmmm. I'm feeling a bit more hopeful.